Jolly Cookathon: Singapore chicken with rice

Heard about the Jolly Cookathon? It’s our latest community challenge, in celebration of eating together. Entries close on 20 November, get all the details and join in, jolly friend.

Liam Tomlin made his career mark in 2001, winning both chef and restaurant of the year. With numerous great cookbooks under his belt and a new one in the pipe line, Liam is a chef to follow. He places serious emphasis on simple food enjoyed in good company. Try his Singapore chicken for a glimpse of his talent.

Ingredients for the Chinese spice salt:

2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder


Place the salt and peppercorns in a bowl and mix together. Dry-roast over a gentle heat until fragrant. Remove, cool and grind to a fine powder. Pass through a fine sieve, discarding any husks. Refrigerate until ready to use. Mix through the five-spice powder just before serving.

Ingredients for the Togarashi dressing:

2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
1½ tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Juice of 1 fresh lime
1½ tablespoons soya sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons hot chilli powder


Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together well. Set aside, allowing the flavours to develop, until you are ready to serve.

Ingredients for the chicken:

1 whole free-range chicken
3 litres chicken stock
3 cloves garlic
2 finger-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
2 whole spring onions
6 whole white peppercorns, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sesame oil


To prepare the chicken, wash it thoroughly and put it in a heavy-based pot. Cover with the chicken stock, and add the garlic, ginger, spring onion, peppercorns and salt. With the heat at a simmer (not boiling) cook the chicken for 45 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the chicken in the stock for a further 15 minutes. Test a thigh with a skewer – if the juices run pale pink it’s cooked.

Remove the chicken from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Rub the chicken all over with sesame oil and remove the legs and breasts from the bone. Slice into even pieces, and set aside until ready to serve.

Ingredients for the rice:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 finger-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
400g long-grain rice
600ml chicken stock (from the poached chicken)
A pinch of salt
1 small bunch coriander (for garnish)
1 cup spring onion, finely sliced (for garnish)


While the chicken is cooking, get started on the rice. Heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil together in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the shallots, garlic and ginger until fragrant, making sure not to get any colour on them.

Rinse and drain the rice. Add it to the pot and stir until evenly coated. Pour in the chicken stock (from the poached chicken) and season with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can see “steam holes” appearing on the surface of the rice.

To assemble the dish, spoon the rice onto a serving platter and arrange the chicken slices on top. Garnish with coriander and sliced spring onion. Serve with a bowl of the togarashi dressing and a small dish of the Chinese spice salt on the side.

Serves 6 – 8

Liam’s Singapore chicken recipe is from Taking it Easy, Andy Fenner’s brilliant new compilation cook book with home entertaining favourites from 20 of South Africa’s leading chefs.